Digital marketing is a term that many people use interchangeably with internet marketing. Yet, it has its beginning way back in the 1980s, when automobile companies mailed out computer floppy disks holding multimedia content publicizing their cars. Nevertheless, in today’s world, when a person walks into a store, restaurant, or other business for the first time, there is a good chance they discovered it online. It has become a simple fact of life that most people are using the Internet to find, evaluate, and choose businesses. So, how does a company make sure people are picking them?
If you are not investing in digital marketing, your company is likely as profitable as it will ever become. Technology and consumer trends are changing every day. In order the thrive and succeed, a company must continually adopt new ideas. Moreover, once you have embraced the concept of digital marketing, you are still left with a laundry list of strategies and tactics to consider. And, since we are talking about an investment of time and money, you want to make sure you are getting the best possible return. Don’t you agree?
All that said, there are essentially four areas which your company must master. These are a priority for any type of digital marketing success.
1. A Customer-Centered Website
The centerpiece of any digital marketing campaign is your business website. Therefore, if potential customers have been finding the same 10 to 20 static web pages for the last 5 to 10 years, it is time for a redesign. While your website has been sitting motionless, technology has moved forward, SEO practices have been updated, and consumer trends have changed. No matter what else you do, without a well-designed website, your digital marketing will fall short. Additionally, it is not enough to have a visually appealing look. A business website must be centered completely around the customer, meeting their needs and demands. So, here 6 critical website characteristics needed to guarantee a positive customer experience and boost your digital footprint.
- Logical Site Structure – Regardless of a visitor’s entry point, a potential customer should reach the information they are looking for within 2 or 3 clicks. This easily and logical pathway through your site also helps with SEO, since Google uses site structure as one of its ranking criteria.
- Contact Information – While having a “contact us” page is an essential best practice, visitors should not have to go hunting for your customer service number. Also, make sure your phone number provides a clickable link for cellphone users.
- Easy Navigation – The best site structure has little value unless visitors can instinctively navigate your way. Ensure that page names are logical and easy to understand. In most instances, if you try to be original, you are only going to frustrate users.
- Social Media Optimization – The typical online user spends most of their time on social media. So, it is critical to have integration with Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and other major social platforms. This will include making it easy for visitors to share your product pages and content, and that it will appear properly in social feeds.
- Responsive Design – According to data compiled by Google, on a daily basis, 80 percent of all online users will access the internet with a smartphone. If your business website cannot adapt to a visitor’s mobile device screen, they will go spend their money somewhere else.
- An Active Blog – A blog attracts visitors by answering their search questions and it will become a resource for existing customers. Further, Google provides preferential treatment to websites that are active, making this an important search engine optimization strategy.
2. Social Media Marketing
While many businesses have a Facebook page, and know they need to be on social media, they are also not sufficiently engaged. Social media marketing is no longer an option. It is critical to stay up to date with current trends. For example, online customer service has become an essential component of digital marketing. There is an expectation that companies will answer all questions, comments, and concerns when addressed on their social pages. Potential customers will use your reactions and behavior to evaluate you. If it appears that the conversation is one-sided, and all you are interested in is selling, this will turn many consumers off.
If you learn just one thing from today’s article, hopefully, it is that social media cannot be just for soliciting. Almost everything you really need to know about social media is in the name, being social. While the ultimate goal is to get your social followers to click a link, subscribe to your newsletter, join an event, request a rate quote, or make a purchase, your customers and followers expect and want to make a personal connection with your brand. Consumers are demanding an authentic, human engagement. There is no “set it and forget it” solution when it comes to social media marketing. So, hire yourself a social media manager or a marketing agency. You simply do not want to underestimate the power social media has on building authority, trust, and loyalty.
3. Build a Large, Shareable Content Library
Blogging and vlogging have numerous benefits. Yet, many business owners question the real value and return on investment. Moreover, most don’t really have the time nor the ability to create high-value content. What would they even blog about? Nevertheless, there are reasons why most marketers will tell you that “content is king”. A large, shareable content library can make a big difference, even when other areas are lacking.
First and foremost, most content will equate to more free and organic search engine traffic. Typically, each content piece means a new webpage. So, it comes down to simple math. Each new webpage is a new opportunity for a potential customer to find you. The more blog entries you have, the more likely that your content is relevant to a user’s search query. In addition, sharable content augments and enhances your social media marketing efforts. Unlike a simple text or basic image post, shared blog content includes a link, driving traffic to your website and increasing leads.
4. Search Engine Marketing
While the name sounds similar to search engine optimization, search engine marketing utilizes paid advertisements to increase your online visibility. But, this strategy is more than bidding on keywords and sending visitors to your website’s homepage. Rather, effective search engine marketing will improve and increase your content’s reach. Accomplishing this requires the use of pay-per-click campaigns to showcase your content to a typically unreachable segment of your target audience. For a variety of reasons, it is easy to have your organic reach flatline. Paid campaigns can break through the logjam.
How and why this is more effective than simply sending visitors to your homepage comes down to search intent. Imagine a person goes to Google and asks the question, “How do I fix a leaking sink?” The intention behind that search is not to hire a plumber. The intent is to learn how to fix it themselves. The searcher may ultimately decide that doing it themselves is more trouble than it is worth, but the plumbing service that sent the user directly to their homepage is not getting the business. You build trust when you actually fulfill the potential customer’s need for information.